The trajectory of the most important and prestigious award in Brazilian literature began in 1959 when the Brazilian Book Chamber established the Jabuti Award. The first winner was Jorge Amado, with his newly released novel “Gabriela, Cravo e Canela” whose success toured the world.
Since then, without interruption, the award consecrated the work of the most famous authors, who were able to win, with their talent, thousands of faithful readers even beyond Brazilian borders.
Every year, more than two thousand works have disputed the coveted trophy. In addition to the highest award, that highlights the “Book of the Year” in the genres fiction and non-fiction, the Jabuti is the most comprehensive of all literary competitions held in Brazil. To win it, authors, editors, designers, illustrators, translators, and editorial producers compete in seventeen different categories.
In Brazilian folklore, the tortoise has a reputation for being a patient and persevering animal, virtues always present in the hard work of all the professionals who work in publishing. In the past, in choosing it as a symbol of the award, the Brazilian Book Chamber intended to honor the everyday tenacity of these men and women, but also ended up predicting the longevity of the award. With the same virtues of his inspiring symbol, the Jabuti Award learned to follow the fast rhythm of the new times and goes toward his golden jubilee.
Regarding the process of evaluation for the Award, and its jury in 2004, the Brazilian Book Chamber opened an application process for all eligible jurors and selected fifty-four members. The standards for the selection of this jury were based on international guidelines. As part of these criterias, an Award Commission was formed, in collaboration with the publishing house of the University of São Paulo and its literature specialists.
The Award Commission developed a Jury Orientation Guide, which specified all the parameters for the evaluation of the nominees and the scoring for each appraisal features. The transparency of the voting poll was guaranteed by the disclosure of each juror’s scoring regarding all the parameters appraised during a public ceremony where the ten finalists of each of the seventeen categories were presented. The winners were revealed on July 21, 2004.